We know increasing lean muscle and decreasing body fat, as we age, is essential to improving our level of fitness, especially our overall health. We also know, strength training is one of the best ways to build lean muscle. Yet, even with this knowledge, the number of females who consistently strength train is extremely low. One of the biggest misconceptions of exercise is that woman build large muscles through strength training. Social stigmas and lack of accurate information feed this myth. In actuality, strength training is just as important for females! It should be approached similarly to male routines in regards to program design, exercise selection, intensity, and volume (relative to body size and level of strength), in order to achieve maximum physiologic and psychological benefits.By nature, females do not “bulk up” because they do not produce as much testosterone (the male hormone), which is imperative for increasing muscle. On average, an adult female produces only five to ten percent, compared to her male counterpart. Consequently, females should be more concerned about not having enough lean muscle, rather than too much.
The following are important physiological and psychological changes that occur as a result of strength training:
Metabolism Increase: As a result of increased lean muscle, metabolism is raised and more fuel is required for muscle maintenance. This means, even while resting, muscles are burning more calories.
Density of Skeletal Bones Increase: Weight bearing exercise builds sturdier bones, which is particularly important to women who may be prone to osteoporosis (due to decreasing estrogen levels during menopause) or have a genetic predisposition.
Develop Stronger Ligaments and Tendons: These joint supports tend to weaken with age. Strength training allows for continued enjoyment of daily activities throughout all stages of life.
Prevent Muscle Atrophy: Unless used, muscles will gradually decrease in size and strength (atrophy). The way to prevent this….you guessed it, strength train!
Increase in Stamina and Physical Power: Simple tasks like carrying a full load of laundry upstairs without being out of breath, or squatting down to pick up a child without straining the lower back, are greatly improved.
Improve Balance: Strength training helps improve muscle imbalance and poor posture as the core is strengthened. This creates greater coordination, balance, and stability.
Rehabilitation and Recovery: After an injury and/or pre/post-surgery, strengthening surrounding muscles, tendons, and ligaments (which support the injured site), is a vital component to speed up recovery.
Psychological Effect: Studies show it improves a woman’s self-confidence and reduces symptoms of clinical depression.
What’s the take home message? If you spend most of your time at the gym doing cardio, but want to gain strength, lose fat, increase muscle tone, and transform your physique… STRENGTH TRAIN! With a well-structured and monitored program, you can achieve your fitness goals in a fraction of the time. Learn how to get the most out of your strength training workout by contacting Dan at (978) 807-8579 or visit seachangefitness.net.